One of my earliest memories is playing on my rocking horse. So when designing the nursery, I knew I wanted our baby to have one of his own. The only problem? I couldn't decide on a style that seemed perfect. Here are a few that I initially considered (from left to right: RH Baby&Child, RockAbye, Pottery Barn Baby):
The longer I looked at each adorable option, the more I thought about my old rocking horse and wondered if it could perhaps be passed down to our son. You can see from the below photo that he was pretty basic: a horse made out of solid pine with a stringy mane and tail and two glass eyes.
Despite being a little banged up and the handles a tad loose, he was in surprisingly good shape. So, I figured it would be worth fixing him up.
Here's what I used:
The first step was to prep the horse. Since the handles were already a little loose, I pulled them off and then glued them right back on with the wood glue. I held the two handles in place for about 15 minutes until the glue dried.
Next, I brought the horse outside and put down some cardboard so I wouldn't get paint on the driveway. I placed a piece of painters tape over each of the glass eyes to protect them and tied the horse's mane and tail into tight buns to spray around. Then I got to work spraying the piece a glossy gray color that would match the nursery. For those of you who don't have much experience with spray paint, it's basically the best thing in the world. There are so many colors, textures and finishes to choose from and spraying could not be easier! Definitely worth the $6.99 per can.
I sprayed two even coats of paint onto the horse (waiting one hour in between each coat), then peeled the painters tape off the eyes and left the horse outside to dry overnight. By morning, he looked nearly brand new with a glossy coat of gray paint:
But something still wasn't right. I initially thought I could keep the original mane and tail intact but the more I looked at the horse, the more I realized that they really needed to be replaced. Yarn can only last so long, right? I thought 30 years might be pushing it...
So I ran to the craft store to pick up new yarn. I grabbed a few different options to test out because I couldn't decide on a color and texture (from left to right: Country Loom Baby Yarn, Classic Wool Roving Yarn, Thick & Quick Yarn):
I cut off the original mane and tail with scissors and then used pliers to pull out a few remaining nails. Next, I took my thee yarn options and held them up to the horse to see which would match the best, before finally settling on the "Country Loom Baby Yarn" in cream (I actually bought this specific yarn in both white and cream but decided to go with the cream color in the end).
For the mane, I measured how long I wanted the "hair" to fall and started winding that length of yarn around my fingers. I did so about 10-15 times until I had a decent-sized bunch:
Then I cut the end still attached to the ball of the yarn, placed the bunch on top of the horse's head, and glued it down with a hot glue gun. I repeated this step 5 times until the entire head was covered on one side. Then I repeated on the horse's other side. Once both sides were complete, I snipped the ends of the yarn to shape the horse's haircut.
For the tail, I measured my desired length and again started winding the yarn around my fingers until I had a thick bunch that somewhat resembled a tail. I tied the bunch together with an extra piece of yarn and then glued it onto the back of the horse with the hot glue gun (sorry, I forgot to take photos of this part!). The last step was to trim the ends of the tail to make it look more realistic. And that was it! The finished product looked like this:
The entire project took two days (only because I had to leave enough time for the paint to dry overnight) and cost less than $20. Totally worth it, right?! Here's one last "before" and "after" shot of the horse:
I hope our son enjoys the rocking horse as much as I did years ago!